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Syrian battles go on despite Eid

Syrian planes have bombed several rebel-held areas and opposition fighters fired mortars at Damascus despite the start of a major Muslim holiday.

The fighting during Eid, or the Feast of Sacrifice, showed how entrenched both sides have become in Syria's civil war, now in its third year. Previously, they occasionally attempted to observe holiday cease-fires.

The Syrian conflict, which began as a largely peaceful uprising against president Bashar Assad in March 2011, has claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced millions of Syrians. The land is a patchwork of rebel- and regime-controlled areas, with front-lines criss-crossing the country.

In the latest fighting rebels fired mortars and home-made rockets at three Damascus districts, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Meanwhile regime planes bombed targets in the village of Latamneh in the northern Hama province killing three children.

As the fighting continued, Assad attended holiday prayers in a Damascus mosque. Syrian state TV showed him sitting cross-legged on the floor, in the front row of worshippers.

Assad continues to appear in public, apparently to send a message of "business as usual" even as large parts of Syria lie in ruins.

Meanwhile, Syrian refugees marked a subdued holiday in the Zaatari tent camp in Jordan. The camp is home to more than 120,000 refugees and has turned into Jordan's fourth-largest city.

A few children bought toys from shops in the camp, as is customary during the holiday, and men attended special Eid prayers, though the refugees said there is no joy in the holiday.

"We feel bad, we feel bad because everyone here has lost his home and family members and his money," said Ibrahim Oweis, a refugee from Damascus.

Osama al-Madi, a refugee from the southern city of Daraa, said he opposes transition talks with the regime, as proposed by the US.

"In each tent here, you will find people who have lost a martyr or have people in prisons, we have missing people in Assad's prisons," he said. "How can we negotiate with a killer regime?"



From Belfast Telegraph